Welcome to the Cable weekly briefing on coronavirus, and other goings on in the city – helping you cut through the ‘infodemic’.
There has been another spike in Bristol’s infection rate. There were 2,183 people who tested positive in the seven days up to 8th November, which is a rate of 471 per 100k people. At 23% higher than last week, there are only 15 local areas in England with a higher rate.
The council said infections and hospital admissions are expected to rise further in the next few weeks before lockdown takes full effect.
🔬 Bristol is to be one of 67 areas to get a new faster testing regime. The new tests, which use similar technology to pregnancy tests, mean results will be known in under an hour and could see as many as one in 10 people tested each week.
🏥 The number of Covid patients in Bristol’s hospital trusts has reached 200, compared with 84 just two weeks ago. This is the same number as in mid-April, at the peak of the first wave (which was relatively low compared with other areas).
⛔ As a result, Bristol’s hospitals have taken the “exceptional step” of cancelling a number of non-urgent routine procedures and outpatient appointments.
🎉 In the first good news in a while, it was announced that plans for the rollout of millions of doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine are underway, with more information expected in the next few weeks.
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😷 The number of deaths in hospitals have doubled in the last two weeks but remain relatively low. There were 23 deaths across the city’s two hospital trusts in the last two weeks, compared with 10 during the previous fortnight.
🙏 Other than obviously following the rules, NHS leaders urged the public to support high-risk family members, collect relatives from hospital as soon as they are well enough to go home, attend appointments on time and stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms.
🚓 But not everyone is following the rules. A police officer had told Aron Walton, the owner of Bishopston tattoo parlour Holey Skins, she would “leave him to it” after he refused to shut the business in breach of lockdown rules. However on Friday evening officers forcibly entered the business to force it to close.
🔓 An anti-lockdown march is taking place on Saturday 14th on College Green, despite warnings from police that organisers could face fines of up to £10,000. The protest is being organised by Stand Up Bristol with an illustrious line-up of guest speakers. These include Piers Corbyn who has already been fined for organising a similar event in London, conspiracy theorists, and, you guessed it, Aron Walton from Holey Skin.
Bristol’s Covid hotspots
There were lots of neighbourhoods with low but rising numbers of new cases, but here are the 10 Bristol areas with the highest infection rate (per 100k people)
- Bishopsworth (50 new cases, 758.6)
- Cotham (65 new cases, 724.4)
- Eastville (53 new cases, 680.3)
- St Pauls (91 new cases, 675.8)
- Clifton East (60 cases, 665.7)
- Clifton Village (40 new cases, 650.2)
- Two Mile Hill (38 new cases, 583.7)
- St George (50 new cases, 571.4)
- Fishponds South (36 new cases, 564.9)
- Headley Park (34 new cases, 553.4)
These are new cases in the seven days up to 7th November.
You can find your area on the government’s interactive map, and see change over time.
The Bristol round-up
A selection of other news from across the city this week.
🌊 A 1,300-name petition to prevent the closure of Jubilee Pool in Knowle has followed a letter signed by 15 cross-party councillors to the mayor last month demanding he secure the pool’s future, which has been shut since March. The local authority says it cannot afford to reopen it.
🌳 This week marks the 2nd anniversary of the council’s declaration of a climate emergency, which sparked local authorities across the country to follow suit. The local Green Party, who initiated the declaration, say that though local efforts are being made, the central government has not done enough to support the transition to zero-carbon.
👩 The Merchant Venturers has voted in its first woman to be ‘Master’ of the elite club in its 468-year history. The controversial former society of Edward Colston will now be led by Gillan Camm who said “much has happened this year and the result is a welcome acceleration in the pace of change” at the organisation viewed with suspicion by many.
🔴 As Labour loses its majority in the council due to two councillors standing down, the latest episode in the seemingly permanent state of civil war in the Labour Party has unfolded in Bristol. The elected chair, co-secretary and other members of Bristol West Labour have been suspended from the party. The suspensions came following the passing of a motion by the constituency party to condemn the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn, in defiance of an order by party leadership to not go ahead. Activists say that the party is clamping down on democracy.